Travelled to Azura in Barbados on Virgin Atlantic from Manchester, a rescheduled flight after Thomas Cook ceased trading. A wonderful flight experience in both directions. Arriving on board we were welcomed with the usual friendliness, good food and high standards everywhere. Yes we knew that Azura is waiting for a refit but despite some shabbier areas of carpet, the state of painting on our balcony and on the outside of the promenade deck was as crisp and white as a new ship, and most areas were enjoyable to be in. The main dining rooms looked impressive when set out for all meals and the choice and standard of food was as high as ever. So much so that we had no hesitation in booking on board for 2 more cruises on Azura. The addition of Martinique to our itinerary albeit at the last minute, added to the experience as it is an island we have only visited once before. We would not have enjoyed the experience of visiting a port on the day after arriving in Barbados so the extra sea day was appreciated and we were not the only ones to think that. An at sea day at the beginning and end of a cruise is always the best.
All the islands were varied port destinations and we had a mixture of P and O cruise tours and our own planned days. We still feel that St Lucia by land and sea is the best full day’s excursion ever offered by P and O for it’s variety and value for money.
We also visited one of our favourite islands, Grand Turk, and took a taxi ride to explore the unusual, historic main area of Cockburn Town. A walking tour is by far the best and back from the sea the salt pans or salinas hold a multitude of different birds including greater flamingoes. The historic buildings need searching for but are worth it.
We enjoyed the Headliners theatre shows and taking part in the Azura vocalists choir.
There were a few things that caused us amusement. Minimal garnishes on salads, pork pie served without any crust and a Yorkshire curd tart that bore no resemblance to any I have eaten during a long life spent only in a Yorkshire and Baked Alaska which turned out to be Artic Roll.
These few mistakes apart we had a wonderful time and would heartily recommend Azura as a ship to spend a holiday on.